For many women, a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) is the perfect choice. That’s because it provides continuous long-term (five years) contraception after one administration and avoids the inconvenience of using a contraceptive that needs to be taken daily or spoils the spontaneity of sex (for example, using a condom).
The device is a T-shaped plastic frame that’s inserted into the uterus, where it releases a type of the hormone progestin. To prevent pregnancy, Mirena:
- Thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg
- Thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation
Mirena prevents pregnancy for up to five years after insertion. Mirena offers effective, long-term contraception. It can be used in premenopausal women of all ages, including teenagers.
Among various benefits, Mirena:
- Eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception
- Doesn’t require partner participation
- Can remain in place for up to five years
- Can be removed at any time, followed by a quick return to your normal fertility
- Can be used while breast-feeding — although your health care provider will likely recommend waiting six to eight weeks after childbirth because earlier placement increases the risk of injuring the uterus during placement
- Doesn’t carry the risk of side effects related to birth control methods containing estrogen
Mirena can decrease menstrual bleeding after three or more months of use. About 20 percent of women stop having periods after one year of using Mirena.
A copper IUD is a small device with a fine copper wire wrapped around a plastic frame. It’s placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.
A fine nylon thread is attached to the IUD – the thread comes out through the cervix into the top end of the vagina.
There are two types of copper IUDs available in Australia – one lasts for 5 years and the other for 10 years.
What you can expect
During the procedure
Dr Merilyn Gates performs IUD insertions and removals at Alphington Medical Centre.
She will insert a speculum into your vagina and clean your vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution. Special instruments might be used to gently align your cervical canal and uterine cavity and to measure the depth of your uterine cavity.
Next, your doctor will fold the IUD’s horizontal arms and place the device inside an applicator tube. The tube is inserted into your cervical canal, and the IUD is carefully placed in your uterus. When the applicator tube is removed, the IUD will remain in place.
Your doctor will trim the IUD strings so that they don’t protrude too far into the vagina, and may record the length of the strings.
The insertion takes approximately 10 minutes and is performed using local anaesthetic spray, making the insertion virtually painless.
After the procedure
Once a month, check to feel that the IUD’s strings are protruding from your cervix. Be careful not to pull on the strings.
About a month after the IUD is inserted, your doctor may re-examine you to make sure the IUD hasn’t moved and to check for signs and symptoms of infection.
While you’re using IUD’s, contact your doctor immediately if you:
- Think you may be pregnant
- Have unusually heavy, persistent vaginal bleeding
- Have abdominal pain or pain during sex
- Have an unexplained fever
- Have unusual or foul-smelling vaginal discharge, lesions or sores
- Develop very severe headaches or migraines
- Have yellowing of the skin or eyes
- Were exposed to an STI
- Can no longer feel the IUD strings, or they suddenly seem longer
Both copper and Mirena IUD’s can remain in place for up to five years (or 10 years for one type of copper IUD). To remove, your doctor will use forceps to grasp the device’s strings and gently pull. The device’s arms will fold upward as it’s withdrawn from the uterus.
Implanon (Contraceptive Implant) Insertion and Removal In Fairfield
Contraceptive implants (Implanon) work in a similar way to the Pill. The implant, a small thin flexible rod, contains a hormone that helps to prevent pregnancy. The implant is 4cm long and made of plastic. It is inserted just under the skin on the inside of the arm. This must be performed by a doctor who is familiar with the technique. The implant steadily releases a small amount of hormone. This helps to prevents pregnancy for three years.
- Effective contraception for three years.
- You don’t have to remember to use contraception every day.
- Doesn’t interfere with sexual intercourse.
- Low cost.
- It is highly effective
- It lasts a long time (up to three years)
- It is reversible and the return to fertility is rapid
- Some women have no vaginal bleeding at all or very light bleeding
- It may reduce painful periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and acne in some women
What about fertility?
The contraceptive implant doesn’t interfere with fertility once it’s removed – periods usually return to normal within one month.
How is the implant put in and taken out?
The implant is put in under a local anaesthetic. This takes about one minute. Local anaesthetic is applied to the skin to make the insertion more comfortable. The implant is normally inserted during the first five days of the menstrual period but it can be inserted at other times if there is no chance that the woman could already be pregnant. If it is inserted in the first five days of the menstrual period it will be immediately effective. If it is inserted at other times it will not be effective for seven days. After insertion, you should be able to feel but not see the implant. If you can’t feel it, see your doctor.
The implant can be left in the arm for three years (or removed earlier if desired). Removing the implant is also done under local anaesthetic, and with a small incision.